From Borderland to Burgenland: Science, Geopolitics, Identity, and the Making of a Region (Hardcover)
The area that constitutes the Austrian federal province of Burgenland belonged to the Hungarian part of the Habsburg empire until the end of World War I. This book helps us realize that geographical knowledge does not come ready-made. Instead, it is created by knowledge makers: geographers, historians, statisticians etc. This knowledge-making helped to legitimatize the area transferred between Austria and Hungary, shape the Burgenland identity, and depict its geopolitical role in the rise of national socialism. This book is about how those studying Burgenland, the creators of its geographical knowledge, saw and represented the province. It explores how they grasped the geographical characteristics of the region through their own perspective, influenced by their own professional positions, individual careers, motivations, and by the broader historical and social medium.
The way the area between the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria came about as Burgenland is enthralling, as is how the people there experienced this change of sovereignty and how everyday social and economic relationships were transformed. Tracing the geographical discourses in the interwar period and beyond, the book argues that Burgenland became a successful geographical project, and departs from thoughts of subdivision, unviability, and backwardness, concentrating instead on fertility, unity, and modernization.